I know a lot of people with developmental disabilities make tremendous strides in their lives, but I've also worked with students who did not develop many skills over their seven, ten or even thirteen years of life. I'm not a fan of functioning labels, but I've worked with kids who were ranked at infant levels of skills throughout their lives, and some even lost skills over the years. But they're still people, they still meant a lot to me and I think they deserve stories too.
So if you're expecting some "magic cure" or Loki to make a ton of progress here, you'll probably be disappointed. But I loved spending time with those people, and this is sort of my way to do that now. I was really missing those students so I banged this out.
Thor didn't believe the baby was from Jotunheim. It didn't look like the Frost Giants in the stories, with their blue skin, red eyes and horns. The baby Father brought to the palace was small and had no horns. His skin was almost white, his eyes a startling green.
Father said the Frost Giants had left him out to die, because he was a runt. Thor scowled. It showed how primitive Frost Giants were.
The baby whimpered. Thor quickly grinned at the baby, who smiled back.
"His name is Loki," Mother said, cradling Loki in her arms. "He's your brother."
"He's a prince," Thor clambered up next to his mother, reaching for Loki. "We'll rule together, Loki, as brothers. We'll slay every monster that left you out there!"
Thor was older than Loki. It was natural that he'd know more than Loki did, and he was eager to teach Loki how to run and swing a wooden sword so they could fight monsters together. Loki was too little, Frigga said, to run through the halls with him, yet.
Each night, Loki woke, screaming and crying. Thor curled next to his brother, hugging him tight and promising not to let the monsters get near. Some nights, Loki only cried harder, and Mother would rock him to sleep.
Loki grew from a baby to a small child, but he stayed on all fours, barely crawling. He had yet to say a word. He struggled to feed himself cut-up meats. While Thor grew stronger, Loki stayed thin and pale.
Naturally, Thor continued to slip food into his brother's mouth. He lugged Loki around with him, when Loki would allow it. He tried to encourage Loki to walk, but Loki could not yet stand on his own. Sometimes, Thor tugged Loki around in a little cart.
Mother said Loki needed more time.
As they grew, Father began saying that Loki was a runt in the head, too. Mother always scolded Father for saying such, insisting Loki would learn in his own time.
Loki learned to feed himself simple foods with his hands, but preferred to sit and be fed. He crawled with great ambition, reached to pull books from shelves or tug Thor's hair mischievously.
Thor was just learning to read, and he read tales of valiant Valkyries or noble kings to Loki.
Loki could not read at all, yet he was far more interested in books than Thor was. Loki flipped through them long after Thor went to train with weapons, and shouted when Mother or Thor turned the pages of his favorites.
Thor continued to give Loki lessons in walking and talking. Loki often stuck out his tongue and spat. Thor convinced himself his brother was trying to speak, or making a jest at something Thor had said.
Once, Loki spat and drooled all over the Frost Giant illustrated in a book, and Thor praised him for slaying the beasts.
When Loki reached the age Thor had been when Loki first arrived, he hadn't progressed nearly as much as Thor- or any other child they knew- had.
Father and Mother consulted healers, who confirmed Father's belief. They said Loki was a runt in the mind.
Thor didn't like the thought that his brother was stupid.
It was true there was a lot Loki could not yet do, but stupid people would not enjoy books as much as Loki did.
One afternoon, Thor sparred with Fandral in the gardens. Loki sat underneath a tree with several books.
"He's like a horse," Fandral laughed as Loki stood on his hands and knees, head dipped down toward the grass.
"Have care how you speak of a prince," Thor growled. Loki looked at Thor, and Thor imagined his brother thinking You're the one who pulls me around in a cart.
"Or a dog." Fandral said, as Loki sniffed the pages and ink of one of his leather-bound tomes. "My dog's smarter. Loki doesn't come when you call him,"
With a roar, Thor swung his training sword, driving Fandral back, but Fandral was more skilled with swords than Thor was. Fandral easily blocked Thor's strikes, and Thor wished he had a hammer.
Fandral kept retreating, blocking Thor's furious blows, until suddenly Fandral toppled.
Unnoticed by anyone, Loki had crawled behind Fandral's legs, effectively tripping him.
Fandral was mortified, but Thor and Loki were not sorry in the slightest.
Thor grinned at how Loki had gotten revenge. Perfectly timed, Loki spat, his tongue thrust out at the fallen boy.
Mother said Loki had an aptitude for magic. Once, he summoned food out of Thor's hand into his mouth and laughed as if he'd told the greatest joke. Sometimes, Thor swore he saw two Lokis crawling toward a source of mischief.
Magic had not changed Loki's mind, had not helped him walk, but Mother said magic might help him talk in other ways. Mother cast an illusion of a book, to show what she meant.
Mother had tried using a book with pictures of Loki's favorite places and things, encouraging Loki to point at what he wanted. Loki had flipped through it like any other book, but did not point to the pages to communicate his thoughts and desires. He had his favorites; the communication book was not one of them, and was often cast aside.
Thor was excited that Loki might show what he wanted with magic, rather than screaming and pushing books away if they were not to his current preference. Loki would be able to tell what hurt him, if he was scared, why he was angry.
Father told Mother not to bother. How could Loki learn magic when he had yet to speak, dress himself, or relieve himself on his own?
Thor's friends said seidr wasn't for warriors, wasn't a manly pursuit, but Thor wished he had some magic. With magic, Mother could simply vanish Loki's soiled clothing.
That night, when Loki spat out his drink, Thor waited for Mother to magic away the mess. Clearly, Loki did not like the milk he was served.
"Show me what you want, Loki." Thor encouraged as Mother cast illusions of water and juice squeezed from fruits.
Loki didn't indicate towards either. He grabbed Thor's knife, waving it like a dagger.
"You want to be a warrior?" Thor asked, enthusiastically, while Loki grunted. Mother took the knife away.
Mother cast the illusions again. Loki snatched at the water and shrieked when he realized it was not real. Grinning, Thor handed Loki real water, but Loki spat it out and threw his cup down, not in the way Thor did when he wanted more.
Thor figured this may take time, as Mother always said Loki would.
In time, Loki could cast lights around his fingers. He often looked surprised to see them there and attempted to eat them, stuffing his fingers in his mouth. He reached for the foods he wanted, but illusions continued to make him angry. He clearly felt cheated, when offered food was not real.
Centuries passed. Thor grew into a capable, strong warrior, the god of thunder with his trusty hammer, Mjolnir.
Thor often stated Loki had grown into a warrior as well. Loki still waved objects around, letting out grunts and battle cries. Thor frequently left Mjolnir near Loki, wondering if Loki was worthy enough to lift it.
Thor thought so, but Loki never attempted to lift the hammer.
When Loki allowed it, Thor would gather him against his chest, grip Mjolnir tightly, and take them both flying.
Loki was headstrong, and did only what he wanted. He could walk short distances when Thor supported him. If he was not in the mood or waned to remain where he was, he went limp and refused to take a single step. It seemed Loki often did not agree with what Thor wanted.
Loki could cast illusions of himself, had seemed to vanish and reappear to get into mischief. He'd been found holding snakes, and snatched objects so fast Thor thought they had vanished.
Thor was proud of his brother, loved him just as he was.
Yet, Thor felt disheartened at the celebration of his coronation. Loki was not in attendance; he often made his dislike of loud crowds clear, either by shouting or hiding under tables with his books. Today, he'd swung at the crowd as if fighting off an army, then swung at Thor. He'd hit himself and scratched his ears until he was removed.
Thor couldn't help but think about how the Frost Giants had cast his brother aside, as if he were nothing. Thor was glad Loki had entered his life, but his hatred of the monsters grew.
Thor's first act as king was to go to Jotunheim and attempt to slay the beasts, just as he'd promised when they were children. He took his friends with him, but left Loki in Asgard.
Father rescued them, furious. He cast Thor into Midgard, stripped of his powers and title, made a mortal.
On Midgard, Thor befriended Darcy and Erik, found a beloved companion in Jane. He could not lift Mjolnir from its crater. He thought of Loki, up in Asgard, and thought his brother would be able to lift it. Loki was often moody and haughty as an adult, but he had not failed as Thor had.
The Frost Giants attacked Midgard, as they had a millennia before, and fighting only brought destruction to the town in New Mexico. It was only when Thor apologized for seeking to destroy them that his powers were restored and Mjolnir returned to him. He sent the Frost Giants back to their cold wasteland, and Thor returned to Asgard. To his brother.
Loki crawled up to Thor, and Thor did not care one bit that Loki's spit and drool soon stained his pants and cape. The greeting from his brother was worth it.